Professor Michael Witt

Professor Michael Witt

Professor of Cinema

Department of Media, Culture and Language

About

Witt book coversMichael Witt is Professor of Cinema and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Film and Audiovisual Cultures (CRFAC) at Roehampton.

He is the author of Jean-Luc Godard, Cinema Historian (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2013), which won the 2014 Limina Award for Best International Film Studies Book. This book offers an in-depth study of Godard's monumental videographic investigation of cinema and history, Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988-1998), within the context of his overall œuvre. It has been reviewed in a variety of publications, including Senses of CinemaNew Left ReviewSight and Sound, 1895: Revue d'histoire du cinéma, Film QuarterlyChoiceHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Spectrum Culture, Modern & Contemporary France, French Studies, and The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory.

Michael is also the co-editor of For Ever Godard (Black Dog Publishing, 2004), The French Cinema Book (British Film Institute, 2004), and Jean-Luc Godard: Documents (Éditions du Centre Pompidou, 2006). Some of his articles, which have appeared in journals such as Sight and SoundScreenTraficCinémaCritical Studies in Television, and New Left Review, have been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese. His most recent article, a study of a forgotten compilation film that Godard created and showed during the 1981 Rotterdam Film Festival, was published in Spring 2015 under the title 'In search of Godard's Sauve la vie (qui peut)' in NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies and is forthcoming in Portuguese and German translation.

Michael has a longstanding interest in curation, and has curated film seasons for institutions such as Tate Modern, the Ciné-Lumière and BFI Southbank. He is currently working on a revised and expanded edition of The French Cinema Book for BFI Publishing/Palgrave Macmillan and is curating a full Jean-Luc Godard retrospective with Michael Temple for the British Film Institute at BFI Southbank in Spring 2016.

Qualifications

BA Hons (University of Bath), PhD (University of Bath)

Research interests

Consultancy experience

Teaching interests

Outputs

Articles

'In search of Godard's Sauve la vie (qui peut)', NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Spring 2015.

'On and Under Communication', in Tom Conley and T. Jefferson Kline (eds), A Companion to Jean-Luc Godard (Hoboken and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), pp. 318-350.

'Archaeology of Histoire(s) du cinéma', in Jean-Luc Godard, Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television, ed. and trans. Timothy Barnard (Montreal: Caboose, 2014), pp. xv-lxix. For reviews of this book, see HERE.

'The Renaissance of Documentary Filmmaking in France in the 1980s and 1990s', in Critical Studies in Television, Vol. 7, No. 2 (special issue on French television, edited by Janet McCabe and Barbara Villez), Autumn 2012, pp. 10-29.

'Paradise Now! Essential French Avant-Garde Cinema 1890-2008', in Paradise Now! Essential French Avant-Garde Cinema 1890-2008 (London: Tate Modern, 2008), pp. 2-7. Article co-authored with Nicole Brenez and Michael Temple, and included in the catalogue published by Tate Modern to accompany the film season of the same name that I curated with Brenez and Temple at Tate Modern from 14 March to 2 May 2008.

'Shapeshifter: Godard as Multimedia Installation Artist'New Left Review, No.29, September-October 2004, pp. 73-89. Also available in Spanish translation in the Spanish edition of New Left Review. Reprinted in French translation (trans. Cécile Wajsbrot) in Trafic, 58, July 2006, pp. 29-42; and in Chinese translation (trans. Da-yi Lee) in Film Appreciation Journal, No.132 (special issue devoted to Godard's later work, edited by Jady Long), Chinese Taipei Film Archive, July-September 2007, pp. 25-35. An updated and expanded version of this article also appeared in 2014 in Portuguese translation in Aída Marques, Anne Marquez and Dominique Païni (eds), Expo(r) Godard (Rio de Janeiro: 7Letras, 2014), pp. 44-73.

'L'"Image" selon Godard: théorie et pratique de l'image dans l'oeuvre de Godard des années 70 à 90', in Jean-Pierre Esquenazi, Gilles Delavaud, and Marie-Françoise Grange (eds), Jean-Luc Godard et le métier d'artiste (Paris: L'Harmattan [Actes du colloque de Cerisy-la-salle], 2001), pp. 19-32.

'Going through the motions: docile bodies and corporal resistance in Miéville and Godard's France tour détour deux enfants', in Alex Hughes and James S. Williams (eds), Gender and French Cinema (Oxford: Berg, 2001), pp. 171-94.

'Montage, my beautiful care, or histories of the cinematograph', in Michael Temple and James S. Williams (eds) The Cinema Alone: Essays on the Work of Jean-Luc Godard 1985-2000 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2000), pp. 33-50.

'Qu'était-ce que le cinéma, Jean-Luc Godard? An analysis of the cinema(s) at work in and around Godard's Histoire(s) du cinéma', in Elizabeth Ezra and Sue Harris (eds), France in Focus: Film and National Identity (Oxford: Berg, 2000), pp. 23-41. Reprinted in Japanese translation (trans. Junji Hori) in Inuhiko Yomoto and Junji Hori (eds), Godard, Image, History (Tokyo: Sangyo-Tosho, 2001), pp. 175-202; and in Chinese translation (trans. Da-yi Lee) in Film Appreciation Journal, No.131 (special issue devoted to Histoire(s) du cinéma, edited by Jady Long), Chinese Taipei Film Archive, April-June 2007, pp. 17-24.

'The death(s) of cinema according to Godard', Screen, Vol.40, No.3, Autumn 1999, pp. 331-46. This article formed part of 'The Godard Dossier' that I edited for this issue of Screen, and for which I also wrote an Introduction (pp. 304-5). The dossier included other articles by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Michael Temple and James S. Williams. My article was reprinted in Japanese translation (trans. Naoko Shinogi) in Eureka, Vol.34, No.7 (462) (special issue: The Century of Godard) (Tokyo: Seido-sha, 2002), pp. 248-62. It was subsequently anthologised in English in Phil Powrie (ed), French Cinema, Vol. III: From the Nouvelle Vague to the New Millenium (London: Routledge, 2014).

'On Gilles Deleuze on Jean-Luc Godard: an analysis of "la méthode du entre"', Australian Journal of French Studies, Vol.36, No.1, 1999, pp. 110-24.

'Godard, le cinéma, et l'ethnologie: ou l'objet et sa représentation', in Christopher Thompson (ed), L'Autre et le Sacré: Surréalisme, Cinéma, Ethnologie (Paris: L'Harmattan, 1995), pp. 369-78.

Books

Michael Witt, Jean-Luc Godard, Cinema Historian (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2013). Winner of the 2014 Limina Award for the Best International Film Studies Book. For some of the reviews of this book, see above.

Nicole Brenez, David Faroult, Michael Temple, James Williams, and Michael Witt (eds) Jean-Luc Godard: Documents (Paris: Éditions du Centre Pompidou, 2006), 448 pages. Published in association with Jean-Luc Godard's exhibition 'Voyage(s)en utopie, Jean-Luc Godard 1946-2006', Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou, 11 May - 14 August 2006. My contribution to this volume included the work of co-edition, co-authorship of the general introduction (pp. 11-15; available in English translation HERE), and sole authorship of six articles: (i) 'Opération survie/Cinéma en colère/Un rêve' (pp. 66-67); (ii) 'Godard dans la presse d'extrême gauche' (pp. 165-73);  (iii) 'Paroles non-éternelles retrouvées' (pp. 260-62); (iv) 'Genèse d'une véritable histoire du cinéma' (pp. 265-80); (v) 'L'enfance de l'art' (pp. 300-1); (vi) 'Sauve qui peut (la vie), oeuvre multimedia' (pp. 302-6).

Michael Temple and Michael Witt (eds) The French Cinema Book (London: British Film Institute, 2004), 294 pages. Reprinted 2008. My contribution to this book included the work of co-edition, and co-authorship with Michael Temple of four chapters: 'Introduction: Rethinking French Cinema' (pp. 1-4); '1890-1930: Hello Cinema!' (pp. 9-17); '1930-1960: Classicism and Conflict' (pp. 93-102); and '1960-2004: A New World' (pp. 183-93). The publishers BFI/Palgrave Macmillan have commissioned a revised and significantly expanded second edition of this book. For reviews of The French Cinema Book published in French Studies (in 2011) and in Times Higher Education (in 2005), see HERE and HERE.

Michael Temple, James S. Williams and Michael Witt (eds) For Ever Godard (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2004), 461 pages. Reprinted in soft cover in 2007. My contribution to this volume included the work of co-edition; co-authorship of the general introduction (pp. 14-16); co-authorship with Michael Temple of the iconographic research and visual design (e.g. the 'Illustrated Filmography', pp. 18-63); and sole authorship of one chapter (pp. 200-13). For an in-depth review of For Ever Godard published in Film-Philosophy in 2006, see HERE.

Patricia d'Allemand, Jorge Díaz-Cintas, Peter Evans, Xelo Sanmateu, Isabel Santaolalla, Alistair Whyte and Michael Witt (eds), Buñuel Siglo 21 (Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias & Institución Fernando el Católico, 2004), 572 pages. This is the proceedings of the three-day international 'Buñuel 2000' conference that I co-organised at Senate House, University of London, in September 2000.

Reviews

'The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks', Sight and Sound, Vol. 21, No.6, June 2009. Review of Peter Graham with Ginette Vincendeau (eds), The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks (London: BFI Publishing, 2009).

'Laurent Mannoni: Histoire de la Cinémathèque Française', Cinéma, No.14, Autumn 2007, pp. 141-47. Review of Laurent Mannoni: Histoire de la Cinémathèque Française (Paris: Gallimard, 2006).

'Fabrication nouvelle de l'histoire du cinéma' (The new fabrication of cinema history), Panic: Revue de cinéma, No.2, January/February 2006, p. 11. Reflection on the potential of DVD as tool for constructing cinema history differently.

'Le cinéma partout' (Cinema everywhere), Panic: Revue de cinéma, No.1, November 2005, p. 14. Survey of the best of recent cinema.

'In Praise of JLG', Sight and Sound, Vol.14, No.2, February 2004, pp. 8-9. Review of Colin MacCabe, Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at 70 (London: Bloomsbury, 2003).

'Derrida', Sight and Sound, Vol.13, No.3, March 2003, pp. 37-8. Review of the film Derrida (Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Kofman, 2002).

'East-West', Sight and Sound, Vol.10, No.12, December 2000. Review of the film East-West (Régis Wargnier, 1999). Review of the film East-West (Régis Wargnier, 1999).

'La Veuve de Saint-Pierre', Sight and Sound, Vol.10, No.9, September 2000. Review of the film La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (The Widow of Saint-Pierre) (Patrice Leconte, 2000).

'The King of Paris', Sight and Sound, Vol.10, No. 7, July 2000. Review of the film Le Roi de Paris (The King of Paris) (Dominique Maillet, 1995).

'Taxi', Sight and Sound, Vol.9, No.4, December 1999. Review of the film Taxi (Gérard Pirès, 1998).

Other

INTERVIEWS

  • 'The Godard interview: I, a Man of the Image', Sight and Sound, Vol.15, No. 6, June 2005, pp. 28-30. The published version of this interview was based on a three-hour dialogue with Jean-Luc Godard that took place at his studio in Rolle, Switzerland, on 15 April 2005. 
  • On-stage interview with Nicolas Philibert, NFT3, National Film Theatre, 4 February 2005.

JOURNALISM

  • 'Jean-Luc Godard' (overview of Godard's television work), Sight and Sound, Vol.23, No.9, September 2013, p.27.  
  • 1989-1991: Contributor to the magazines L'Image-Vidéo and Séquences TV-Vidéo.  

MEDIA WORK

  • Interview with Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), October 2015.
  • Interview about Godard for Croatian television, September 2015.
  • Interview about Godard with The Hollywood Reporter, May 2014.
  • Interview about Godard with Bloomberg News, February 2014.
  • Interview about Godard for Slovenian television, November 2008. 
  • Discussion of Jean-Luc Godard's Notre musique, 'Night Waves', BBC Radio 3, 19 May 2005.  
  • Discussion of Jacques Feyder and the classic French cinema, 'Night Waves', BBC Radio 3, 11 June 2004.  
  • Interview about Godard for South Korean television, October 2002. 

PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK

TRANSLATIONS

Dominique Païni, 'According to JLG...'Rouge, No.9, 2006.  

CONFERENCE ORGANISATION

  • 27-28 April 2007: co-organiser (with Michael Uwemedimo), two-day international Now (and Again): Re-enactment and the Moving Image conference, BFI Southbank (formerly National Film Theatre), London  
  • 16-17 November 2002: co-organiser (with Dr Catherine Lupton), two-day international Chris Marker: The Art of Memory conference, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London  
  • 21-24 June 2001: co-organiser (with Dr Michael Temple and Prof. James S. Williams), four-day international For Ever Godard conference, Tate Modern, London. For reviews of this conference by Hilary Radner and Maximilian Le Cain, see HERE and HERE
  • 14-16 September 2000: organising committee member, international Buñuel 2000 conference, Senate House, University of London  
  • 9-11 June 2000: organising committee member, international Possessing Vision: The Cinema of Jean Rouch conference, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London  
  • 14 March 1998: sole organiser, one-day Contemporary Political Filmmaking in France symposium, University of Roehampton  

CURATORIAL WORK

1 January-15 March 2016: Full retrospective of the work of Jean-Luc Godard, BFI Southbank. Co-curator: Michael Temple.

14 March-2 May 2008: Paradise Now! Essential French Avant-Garde Cinema, Tate Modern. Co-curated with Nicole Brenez (Université de Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle) and Michael Temple (Birkbeck College), with the assistance of Pierre D'Amerval and Laurent Mannoni of the Cinémathèque Française. This film season accompanied the Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia exhibition that took place at Tate Modern from 21 February to 26 May 2008. 

February-June 2005, Classic French Cinema, Ciné Lumière, London. Season of twenty-six films screened weekly on Sunday afternoons, co-curated with Michael Temple. 

8-27 April 2004: French Documentary Cinema, National Film Theatre. Film season co-curated with Michael Temple. The NFT programme booklet for April 2004 includes an introduction to this season co-authored by Witt and Temple (p. 15).  

2000-2004: Rethinking French Cinema, a series of screenings and study days at the National Film Theatre, co-organised with Dr Michael Temple: 

  • 17 April 2004: Focus on the French Documentary Tradition  
  • 21 June 2003: Rethinking Early French Cinema with Richard Abel 
  • 7 December 2002: The French Detective Film Tradition 
  • 11 May 2002: Gender and Space in French Cinema 
  • 1 December 2001: Paris Under Occupation 
  • 10 March 2001: Migration and French Cinema  
  • 2 December 2000: How Television Changed French Cinema

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